Undergraduate Research Fellowship Dispatches: Jennifer Hartman, Lark Buckingham, and Everything After

07 Jul, 2016

Undergraduate Research Fellowship Dispatches: Jennifer Hartman, Lark Buckingham, and Everything After

This year, BCNM initiated its undergraduate research fellowships, which offer undergraduates the chance to engage in direct research experience with BCNM graduates. Jennifer Hartman was selected to work with Lark Buckingham (Art Practice) on her artistic exploration of the culture surrounding sexual violence.

“Everything After” is Lark Buckingham’s artistic exploration of how survivors deal with the the lingering impact of sexual assault. The interactive work, which was displayed in the Berkeley Center for New Media Commons window over the past year, investigates the vocabulary and visual images used to define survivors, and -- through community projects -- begins to build a new language to talk about these issues. A daunting task, no doubt. But Lark was fortunate to have assistance in the project with Jennifer Hartman joining her team.

Jennifer Hartman (Art Practice) was working on similar issues in a film course taught by then Director Greg Niemeyer. The BCNM undergraduate research fellowship allowed her to continue her artistic study of the topic through her collaboration with Lark, which culminated in a gender and sex-based anti-violence program, entitled the Survivor’s Symposium, to channel animosity with the language used around sexual violence.

While there are many groups on campus devoted to processing gender and sexual violence, Lark and Jennifer observed that there was no central hub that the groups could use to come together. The Symposium aimed to do just that and was built with the idea of creating a safe space for participants to engage in the topic. To achieve this goal, much of Lark and Jennifer’s time was spent on developing a vocabulary for discussing such a sensitive issue and promoting healing.

The result of their hard work was an interdisciplinary event devoted to a unique population independent of the institution of the university. A variety of workshops built community among participants, with The Girl Army leading healing yoga and self-defense classes, Jadelynn Stahl displaying her community quilts, and an exhibition showcasing artwork from people who experienced sexual violence.

Participants also had the opportunity to discuss their experiences with bureaucracy around sexual violence and ran through simulations on how to troubleshoot potential issues. To this end, Lark enlarged a print-out of an official apology letter from a professor at UC Berkeley who admitted to sexual misconduct. Visitors were able to annotate and interact with the piece, thereby externalizing the issues and giving power back to the audience.

Jennifer Hartman played a crucial role in building a conversation around sexual violence on campus, and the BCNM is so pleased to have helped facilitate her advocacy in this area.

While she has now graduated and moved to Los Angeles, where she works on screenprints for music gig posters, Jennifer is looking forward to her next personal artistic project, which will continue her work in the realm of gender and sexual-based violence.

We at the BCNM can’t wait to see the results!